Belmont Stakes & Bag of Donuts
June 8, 2024
Mar 22, 2023

Texas Champions Day arrives Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.

Article By: Hal Lundgren

Texas Champions Day arrives Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.

With a lineup of seven $100,000 races, it's SHRP's deepest program of
the year.

Since one of those seven events marks the return of Mr Money Bags,
you could also call it Old Timers Day.

The 7-year-old gelding makes his comeback after being off for 11
months. Trainer Jaylan Clary resumed his workouts on Feb. 18.

For his Saturday return, Clary entered him in the 6-furlong Spirit of
Texas, a race he won last year. That win underscored his love for
finish lines. Mr Money Bags has been first, second or third in 24 of
27 career races.

He also loves SHRP's surface, having won five of six starts here.

The program begins at 1 p.m. The seven featured events are Races 3
through 9, starting with the Star of Texas Stakes.

STAR OF TEXAS, a mile event for runners four years and older --
Bret Calhoun-trained Gold Pilot stands out as one of the day's
solid favorites. He’s the morning-line choice with 2/5 odds.

TEXAS THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION OAKS, for 3-year-old fillies --
Calhoun's Santa Fe Gold won a $50,000 race here in January. She’s a
Keeneland and Churchill Downs-seasoned filly who faces a strong
field. She’s also challenged for the first time to win around two turns.

SAN JACINTO TURF,  a 1 1/16-mile feature for fillies and mares age four
and older. -- Karen Jacks' trainees No Mas Tequila and Imaluckycharm will
likely go off favored. Imaluckycharm beat her older half-sister here in
February after dropping her last two, 2022 races to No Mas Tequila.
The two were born to the same mare. Yet Jacks described them as "very
different.” She added, “No Mas Tequila looks like a bulldog. Imaluckycharm
just keeps growing taller."

SPIRIT OF TEXAS, a six-furlong dash for runners age four and older --
Mr Money Bags seems certain to go off as both the parimutuel and
sentimental choice. But he's no lock. J. R. Calwell-trained Algebra
and Sunday Bling are credentialed challengers. The two have finished
in the money 34 times in 54 races.

YELLOW ROSE STAKES, six furlongs, for fillies and mares four
and older -- Competing for smaller purses, Steve Asmussen-trained
Lady Ave has won five consecutive races. Lady Ave and Karl Broberg's
Discreet Lady look like the sprinters to beat. Calhoun's Toloda is one of
the interesting long shots.

RICHARD KING TURF, the day's longest event. It's 1 1/8 miles on the
grass for horses four and older -- Sunlit Song is one of the day's two
heaviest favorites. He has thrashed good fields in both 2023 starts.
The Mindy Willis-trained runner and Gold Pilot (in the Star of Texas)
have been tabbed with the lowest morning line odds. Both are ⅖.

TEXAS THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION DERBY is a mile-and-70-yard
event for 3-year-olds. Calhoun's Vietnam Victory and Release McCraken
both look live. Vietnam Victory was a flashy winner of Sam Houston's
Groovy Stakes in January. On Saturday, he will try to extend his speed
around two turns.
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